Sometimes, it is hard to find the words. It has been four months since my last post, and I have thought several times that I need to put words to screen [pen to paper, but you know…] I have struggled a bit. The last few months have been a little tough for us. I know these blogs are supposed to be happy and uplifting, so indulge me for a moment as I diverge from that path.

I lost a former boss who was a good friend just before Thanksgiving. His unexpected passing hit me harder than I might have thought. One thing that struck me from the very beginning was that he KNEW people. Not just a casual hello or recognizing faces, but he genuinely knew them. I can’t tell you how many times we were at a conference or industry event with channel partners and vendors from all over the US, and he spoke to each and every one of them, knew them by name, knew their families, knew their business whether or not they worked with us at that moment or not. It was an impressive spectacle to witness. It wasn’t forced, rehearsed, or used-car-sales-guy-ish; it was a genuine relationship with each of those with whom he interacted. I aspire to have that level of relationship with those with whom I do business.

I don’t think I ever told him how much he meant to me, mainly because I knew the merciless teasing I would have gotten in return. Not mean-spirited, mind you, but the teasing one gets from someone who truly cares.

I have been pretty fortunate in my career to work with and for some amazing people. He was at the top of that list. He was my friend. And I will miss him.

Shortly after that, several friends lost loved ones. All were people about whom I care. Emotionally, it has just been a tough winter.

In the tasting room, we have seen a slower winter than we had expected. Really, we know that the end of December, January, and February are typically pretty lean, but end of 2018 and the start of 2019 have been particularly challenging.

All of that seems disheartening. But even in the face of all of that, we have had some pretty awesome moments too. A good friend got married. Another couple of friends welcomed their first grandchild. My cousin’s oldest child got engaged. And we love celebrating those moments with friends and family.

Another building project for winter 2019!

And drumroll… We are excited to announce that we are one of 39 recipients of the 2019 WNC AgOptions grant, funded by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund. We will use the proceeds from that grant to help fund construction on a new multipurpose barn. It will give us a covered space in which to do crush; room for a cooler to store grapes during harvest; space to dry some grapes in the apassimento method; a couple of additional bathrooms; and shaded outdoor space for multiple functions. Eddie and I are likely to start grading for that within the next 3-4 weeks. I will share more details about this exciting project in the weeks to come. We invite you to join us, and watch the development of this impactful growth project for us.